Traveling to Mexico for medical and dental procedures is increasing in popularity. Who wouldn’t want to combine a tropical vacation with some unwanted dental work, but just how wise is it to trust your healthcare to another country? It’s true, you can save a significant amount of money, but is it worth the cost? Here are some things to keep in mind before you decide Mexico is the best place for your dental care.
- You must factor in your travel cost when determining how much money traveling to Mexico will save you. Don’t forget to add in the cost of a US passport if you don’t already have one, they run $145 currently. These costs may negate any savings you’d have by traveling out of the country for dental work.
- This may be obvious, but there can be a language barrier. Not all Mexican doctors and staff speak English, or English well. It is not uncommon for your doctor and staff to speak Spanish while you are in the room. This can put you at a disadvantage if things aren’t going as expected. How panicky would you be not understanding what was going on?
- Some Mexican dentists perform procedures they aren’t qualified to do. Dentists in Mexico go to 4 years of dental school and have 1 year of social service. Many periodontist and oral surgeons have done less than 10 implants by the time they graduate their specialty school, general dentists have even less experience. There is no continuing education in Mexico.
- Many dentists in Mexico advertise they are members of the American Dental Association (ADA). This means nothing. The ADA does not screen it’s members. Anyone with a valid dental license can join if they pay their dues, so don’t be fooled.
- Your dental work can improperly be rushed to please the patient. This can lead to proper dental protocols being skipped or the use of low-quality dental labs, resulting in poor restorations.
- There is no recourse if you end up with an unqualified or dishonest dentist. Generally, you do not get a refund and are unable to sue a Mexican dentist for the money owed to you. It is recommended you never pay all of the money upfront, this can help if you receive bad dental care.
- Although more dentist and medical professionals are popping up in resort towns, the vast majority are in boarder towns. This makes it easy to cross over from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona & California, but it is not the ideal location of a tropical vacation. This blows the theory of getting a little dental work done while on a fabulous get-away!
There are simply too many unknowns when traveling out of the country for me to trust Mexican dental care. Did your friend that had a fabulous experience just get lucky? Would you be just as lucky? The cost of having poor dental care fixed stateside would outweigh any savings you would gain by traveling to Mexico for dental work. But perhaps the greatest reason not to travel to Mexico is safety! The United States has a detailed list of travel warning for Mexico found HERE. There are Level 3 travel warnings, meaning Reconsider Travel, to the northern states of Sonora, Chihuahua, and Coahuila. There is increased violence and gang activity, so if you do decide to go, make sure you know what part of the state you are traveling to and just how safe it is. Your life is not worth the risk!